This week we hope you will join us in congratulating Timothy Blake on his 50th anniversary at The London School of English. During this time he has achieved so much at the school and within the wider language learning industry and continues to contribute through his active roles in Quality English and, of course, as Chairman of the school's Board of Directors and as owner.
Timothy also founded The London School Trust – a charitable Trust helping people globally to benefit from arts and education support and funding, and has built long-lasting relationships and friendships around the world. We count ourselves very fortunate to mark this occasion with him.
Let's see what Timothy has to say looking back at the past 50 years:
Like many people I came into English language training almost by accident, with no plan to make it a career, but what led me to get involved was an interest in language and communication, and a curiosity about the world (’Teach English in Japan’ was a small advertisement which triggered the whole thing). These remain key motivators for me.
I trained at International House in 1969. I nearly went to Bangkok with them (there was nothing available at the time in Japan) but a London-based opportunity came up at the start of 1970 and I thought maybe some experience would be useful before travelling. That was at The London School of English and somehow 50 years later I am still there. Since the nature of the industry, the school and my role in it have changed so many times during this period, I don’t get the sense of having done the same thing (and I have managed to visit Japan about 30 times too). In fact, since 2012 – by coincidence our centenary year – I have stepped back from active management and now have the pleasure of watching a new generation managing the many challenges we all face.
I have always been interested in the benefits of collaboration – we were involved in shared marketing initiatives as far back as the 1970s – and when the opportunity to get involved in a joint promotion in China came along in the 1990s we enthusiastically joined in. It was this initiative which finally led to the creation of Quality English in the early 2000s.
QE came into being to offer smaller schools many of the benefits enjoyed by larger organisations, while respecting their individuality. The principle that like-minded schools gain by collaborating remains the foundation of our approach. Exactly how we collaborate is bound to change and evolve – we have to be very open-minded about that - but I am confident that the concept that we are stronger together will endure.
Looking back on 50 years in this business, I treasure the many personal friendships which I have enjoyed, many of them made as part of our Quality English journey